According to a recent study, more than a million children in the U.K. will reach the age of 11 unable to “read well” by 2025 unless urgent action is taken to tackle what a coalition of charities, teachers, parents, and businesses are calling a reading crisis facing British students.
The report commissioned by the coalition called Read On Get On shows that, out of all EU countries, England has one of the most significant skill gaps when it comes to children’s reading levels, second only to Romania. The difference between the strongest and weakest readers is equivalent to seven years of schooling.
The group enlisted agency Don’t Panic London to create a PSA to illustrate the consequences of illiteracy. The agency has already had a few PSA hits this year, most notably for putting the violence in Syria in a Western context for Save the Children UK and helping Greenpeace show everything is not awesome about Lego’s partnership with Shell Oil.
Here we get a first-person POV on a kid growing up without adequate reading skills, in which life gets increasingly difficult. There’s some casual and cliched demonizing of video games, but otherwise it’s a strong statement on the significant consequences that small decisions–like spending just 10 minutes a day reading with your kids–can have on a child’s life.
Creative director Richard Beer (no relation!) says a primary goal for the video was to allow people to grasp the issue instantly, understanding the serious consequences of not being able to read without having to wade through a report or statistics. “The on-screen text is also a metaphor for how mentally damaging illiteracy can be–adults who can’t read properly are often too ashamed to admit it, which only makes things worse, and they’re more likely to suffer from depression and feelings of isolation as a result.”